KC Royals Potential Departures, Vol. 2: Lorenzo Cain
Many tough choices are going to be made at Kauffman Stadium over the next few months. Lorenzo Cain is the next one we’ll make here for the KC Royals.
Name: Lorenzo Cain
Agent: Joshua Kusnick
Career Numbers: .287/.339/.414 (.753 OPS), 43 home runs, 277 RBI, 107 steals, 128 doubles, 321 runs scored, 105 OPS+/105 wRC+/.127 ISO power, 23.4 WAR
Importance: Starting centerfielder and 3-hole hitter
History of Success
He’s been such an institution around these parts for so long that it’s difficult to remember that Lorenzo Cain’s journey to big-league success started with the Milwaukee Brewers.
Oh, but what a thrilling Sliding Doors theory we might have but for that fateful December day that sent Zack Greinke to Milwaukee for Cain, Alcides Escobar, Jeremy Jeffress and Jake Odorizzi; without that trade, there’s no chance the KC Royals have two pennants and a World Series this decade. And it’s hard to see Cain becoming a mild cult figure anywhere outside of Kansas City.
Cain’s success lies so much in advanced metrics—it’s easy to look at him and see an upper-.280s hitter with just a smidgen of pop and the inability to play a full season without missing three weeks. Since Cain’s only made one All-Star team and can’t seem to stay healthy, should the KC Royals brass bet on that to get better going forward?
The argument for is pretty easy: since Cain nailed down the everyday centerfield role in 2013, he’s been at least a 3.0 WAR player each year and certainly earned his shortlist MVP status during the 2015 campaign. He doesn’t strike out, he’s consistently on base and will make the occasional jaw-dropping play in centerfield that serves as a reminder that centerfielders don’t necessarily have the wheels come off in their mid-30s.
The argument against is also pretty easy: aside from hitting at a fairly successful clip for most of his career, Lorenzo Cain does nothing to stand out in a traditional sense. He’s Angel Pagan on his best day. And pretty much any extension is going to put him on the wrong side of 35 years old at its conclusion.